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Surveying the design landscape across Major League Soccer: Expansion + LAFC

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Welcome to Dirty South Soccer's mini-series exploring the designs of MLS! In this three part series, teams will be assessed based on their color scheme's uniqueness and appeal. The first entry looked at the Eastern Conference. Yesterday, we reviewed the Western Conference. Today's finale will explore the upcoming expansion sides as well as recap the new LAFC colors and crest, which were unveiled yesterday.

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Click HERE to review the Eastern Conference entry.

Click HERE to review the Western Conference entry.

Note: Grades will be assessed on a five point scale with five being the best. This time, let's review them based on their MLS entry date. Also, analysis will be more in depth than the other entries as these are all brand new clubs.

Atlanta United FC

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The next entrant into the league, Atlanta has come up with a fairly traditional look. Atlanta has often been compared to DC United for having "stolen their colors and name." While true that I've got the ATL blinders on, "United" is about as generic a name possible and not something DC can claim as exclusively theirs. Nor did DC exactly invent the term...I'm sure they'd give a tip of the cap to the hundreds of Uniteds across the pond if asked where they came up with it. Furthermore, DC is a black-first club with very minor secondary colors. Atlanta is all but a lock to feature red and black striped kits with gold accent colors. Visually, the clubs will look very different.

Uniqueness: 3. The league already has plenty of red, and also some black and gold. On the other hand, few clubs combine them the way Atlanta has, so it's a somewhat unique color scheme.

Appeal: 5. Again, I've got my local blinders on, but I'm itching to get that first striped kit. So far, all of the merchandise has looked great with an emphasis on black and also gray.

If you doubted this club would be anything other than red and black stripes:

Minnesota United FC

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Minnesota is slated to either join Atlanta in 2017 or begin play the season after. The club currently has a great, distinct crest. I say "currently" because it remains to be seen whether that will still be in play after they make the jump. Looking back on similar situations, most other lower league imports revised their designs for MLS play. MontrealOrlandoPortlandSeattle, and Vancouver all embraced new marks prior to beginning in North America's top flight. Research on the USPTO site will show that all of these club's current MLS marks share one thing in common: they all list either Major League Soccer, L.L.C. Limited Liability Company or MLS Canada LP Limited Partnership Canada as the design's owner. The current MUFC designs are owned by Minnesota United IP, LLC Limited Liability Company Minnesota, so it remains to be seen whether MLS will require its own crest, or if the team will transfer ownership over.

Uniqueness: 4. A nice look which emphasizes the sky blue and also heavily uses gray, not often seen in sports. The gray might be their opportunity to have a very unique look. They do like the large wings across the shirt...

Appeal: 4. A solid and attractive identity featuring the state bird front and center. Atlanta could have taken note with the phoenix.

The USPTO listing for the club's crest:

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Los Angeles FC

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LA's second squad will be joining in 2018 and yesterday they unveiled their brand. Hmm...looks a tad familiar, no? Fans immediately recognized the same color scheme as Atlanta. Thankfully, they will be emphasizing the black and gold with small bits of red mixed in. Our red and black stripes should offer us a unique look, even though they chose the exact same color palette. The design work was led by Matthew Wolff, a Nike employee who also created the designs for NYCFC and its supporters' group, the Third Rail. Simple enough with just a bit of flair, it's a clean look which is befitting of the City of Angels.

Uniqueness: 1. Atlanta received a 3 out of 5 as only the second black and red team in the league, but received a boost for the gold as well as the stripes. LAFC, on the other hand, is just plain lazy. Two expansion sides introduced mere months apart will have exactly the same colors. Yes, you read that right.

Appeal: 4. Despite this, it still looks good.

A graphic explaining the design inspiration, as told by Matthew Wolff:

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Hey, LOOK! Evidence LAFC was inspired by Atlanta's colors and use of initials for the logo. Our crest sat mere inches above the designer's computer...

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Miami

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Much too early in the process, though likely the next club up as stadium issues seem to clear. Beckham and Co. have been spotted with a light blue and black scheme. It could work for Miami, though the league already features a number of teams with the light blue. Perhaps a nautical theme with the aqua would work? Here's further information on that last concept.

Grades: Incomplete.